Call for stricter penalties for defibrillator vandals

Call for stricter penalties for defibrillator vandals

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File Photo: © Pat Flynn 2017

Ennis Councillor Mary Howard is seeking stricter penalties for anyone who damages lifesaving defibrillators.

“Last December we saw CCTV footage of a group of 16 year olds in Arklow in Co Wicklow pull a defibrillator off of a wall and proceed to kick it back and forth destroying the unit. In January a defibrillator was destroyed in Cork for the 4th time! The list goes on. These lifesaving devises cost in the region of €2,500 to be replaced,” she said.

Cllr Howard has requested that the Minister for Health require all future publicly accessible defibrillators to be fitted with a sensor that will notify the emergency  services when the defibrillator is removed from its holder.

The  majority of defibrillators have been provided by local committees of volunteers who ran fundraising events in order to raise the necessary funds.

Ennis Councillor Mary Howard – File Photo: © Pat Flynn 2016

An AED or an Automated External Defibrillator is a light weight portable devise that delivers an electric shock through the chest to the heart. The shock can stop an irregular heart rhythm and allow a normal rhythm to resume following sudden cardiac arrest. Sudden cardiac arrest  is an abrupt loss of heart function and if not treated within minutes, it quickly leads to death, Cllr Howard explained.

“In the future I would like to see these units fitted with a SIM module and internal camera, that when the cabinet is tampered with or opened the camera will take a picture and SIM module will then email the picture to whomever is looking after the unit or the emergency services.

I also believe stricter penalties should be imposed on those who damage and interfere with defibrillators similar to those penalties for interfering with a lifebuoy which include a large fine and / or a significant custodial sentence” Cllr Howard added.

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Chief Reporter Pat Flynn has worked as a journalist for almost 30 years. His career began during the late 1980s when, like many aspiring radio presenters of the time, he worked for local pirate radio stations in Clare and Limerick. Pat joined Clare FM in 1990 where he worked as researcher initially and later presented several different programmes including the station's flagship current affairs programme. He was also the station's News Editor and Deputy Controller of Programmes. Despite leaving in 2003 to pursue a career as a freelance journalist, he continues to work with the station to this day. As well as being the Clare Herald’s Chief Reporter Pat is also freelance journalist and broadcaster, contributing to Ireland’s national newspapers and is a regular contributor to national broadcasters.

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